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What Is an Amelanistic Corn Snake?

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  • Written By: B. Chisholm
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2016
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The amelanistic corn snake is an albino corn snake, one that is lacking black pigment. This causes some to show color brightly, and therefore many people keep them as pet snakes. Red, orange, yellow and white variations of the amelanistic corn snake are found. It falls under the scientific species Elaphe guttata with other corn snakes and is found mainly in the southeastern and central regions of the US. Corn snakes are sometimes also called red rat snakes.

Various variations of the amelanistic corn snake have been bred to obtain beautiful skin colors. They tend to have soft skin, speckled with color and an underbelly resembling corn. Due to the lack of black pigment, their eyes are red. In general, they are docile in nature and slow to bite thus increasing their popularity as pet snakes.

Although they are called the amelanistic corn snake, this is not due to their feeding habits. The snakes normally eat frogs, lizards, birds and small rodents. When kept as pets, they are usually fed mice once or twice a week. If they are fed live mice, they will naturally kill them by constriction before eating them. It is important to get professional advice on feeding if keeping an amelanistic corn snake as a pet as they are prone to obesity if overfed.

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In the wild, the amelanistic corn snake prefers overgrown fields, forested areas and rocky hillsides. They generally stay on the ground although, sometimes, they may climb trees. They are mainly active at dusk, night, or dawn and those living in colder climates may hibernate throughout winter. If keeping an amelanistic corn snake as a pet, it is important to get advice on the cage in which you will keep it.

After mating, the female will lay between 12 and 24 eggs in a warm, moist place, where she will leave them. The mother snake then plays no further role in the upbringing of the babies. The baby snake will use its egg tooth to slit the egg shell after about ten weeks and will eat the yolk of the egg as its first meal before emerging. In captivity, the baby snakes will normally shed their first skin after about a week and feeding should begin after this.

As with any pet reptiles, it should be remembered that snakes are intrinsically wild. Before getting an amelanistic corn snake as a pet, professional advice should be sought regarding housing, feeding and care. Handling of the snake should be done carefully and infrequently.

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